Vince Dooley, less than eight weeks since his last day running the Georgia athletics department, has spent the last week facing questions of whether he's a candidate for the same position at Auburn, his alma mater.
His verbal statement Monday night differed little from the written one issued last week when his name appeared in Alabama newspapers on the list of possible men to succeed David Housel at Auburn.
"I said (last week) nobody contact me, that it's very natural that I would be mentioned by y'all (media) because of 12 years I spent at Auburn," he said. "But I have not been contacted."
Not then, and not since then, he said.
Dooley, along with about a dozen former Georgia football players, was at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for about four hours Monday evening, signing copies of "What It Means To Be A Bulldog," authored by Atlanta sports writer Tony Barnhart.
The Hall sold more than 300 books as between 225 and 250 people stood in line to get to Dooley and the likes of former Bulldogs Tommy Lyons, George Patton, Jim Wilson, and John Lastinger.
Dooley was clearly the draw, and he chit-chatted with fans and even got up from behind the table to sign other items to keep the long line flowing. Afterward, he talked about a number of things, but the Auburn opening remains a hot topic.
Auburn athletics director David Housel, a long-time friend of Dooley, announced earlier this year that he'd retire in 2005. Former baseball coach Hal Baird has been running the department since then. Auburn hired Carr Sports Associates of Florida to lead the search for a new athletics director.
Dooley spent 40 years at Georgia, 25 as head football coach and 25 as athletics director with 10 years on both jobs. He was a two-sport player at Auburn,
School president Ed Richardson told the Opelika Auburn-News last week that people close to Dooley had expressed an interest in the job for Dooley.
"The president made a statement that I had expressed an interest, but I never authorized anybody go tell the president to express an interest," Dooley said after about four hours of autographing books, helmets, and posters, among other items. "I never sent an envoy."
But, as Dooley said last week, he still has many friends in Alabama and close to the Auburn program, and that "it could well be that some of them may have said something."
Dooley, who turns 72 on the day Georgia hosts Georgia Southern to open the season, graduated from Auburn in 1954, then returned to the school as an assistant after two years in the Marines. He was hired on Dec. 4, 1963 to take over Georgia's football program.
In 1980, Auburn came calling after the Tigers went 5-6 overall and winless in the SEC under fifth-year coach Doug Barfield. Pat Dye, whose playing days at Georgia ended a couple years before Dooley took over, was then hired at Auburn when Dooley chose to stay in Athens.
FDIC chairman Donald Powell reportedly interviewed last week. Two other candidates mentioned prominently are Birmingham-Southern athletics director Joe Dean, Jr., and AU senior associate athletics director Jay Jacobs. Dooley
"I said (last week) that because of the respect I have for Auburn, that I don't think I should comment anymore," he reiterated.
Would he talk to Auburn if school officials contacted him?
"Now, I would go against what I just said" about not comment, Dooley said. "I can't say."